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Latinos subjected to wage violations, poll reveals

Latino workers are often targeted for violations of wage laws, a poll conducted last month by Latino Decisions and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) revealed.

According to the poll measuring discontent in the Latino workforce, of those workers who had pay disputes with their employers, 12 percent reported the matters were never successfully resolved.

The rates of unresolved wage disputes were highest for those workers earning the lowest wages, as 15 percent reported that they never got paid all the money that was owed to them.

The same held true for 10 percent of the Latino workers whose wages placed them at or above the median wage bracket.

The Principal of Latino Decisions described the workers' frustrations succinctly.

"Imagine if you took a job and you were told 40 [percent] of the time . . . there might be a problem with your pay. It might be late, it might bounce, it might not be complete."

The NCLR's vice president of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation shared his concerns over the Trump administration's proposed $2.5 billion in cuts to the Department of Labor (DOL). If put into place, these cuts could decimate vital protections and workplace training programs on which Latino workers depend to keep them safe on the job.

He noted also that Latinos belong to the biggest and fastest-growing sector of employees in the nation, meaning they would bear the brunt of the budget cuts.

In addition to being subject to egregious wage violations, Latinos also are challenged by a dearth of training opportunities. Almost a quarter of Latino workers polled had not been trained or gone through orientation before being assigned tasks on their jobs.

Again, lowest-wage earners received the least training, at 28 percent. One out of 10 workers stated that they experienced delays in payments, and 12 percent claimed not to have been paid what was owed to them.

Voicing concerns to management over unpaid wages or other violations is not always an option for Latino workers. They may not be fluent enough in English to communicate their concerns or worry that they or their family members could be targeted for deportation if they complain.

Sometimes the only path to successful resolution of wage disputes is through the California civil court system.

Source: National Council of La Raza, "Trump administration's budget cuts would hurt Latino workers who are already suffering," accessed June 30, 2017

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